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Manipur Election 2017: Trinamool Congress looks to repeat 2012 performance and play kingmaker in hung Assembly

Imphal: Seeking to play an important role in national politics ahead of parliamentary election, the Trinamool Congress is eyeing a 2012 repeat performance in Manipur to emerge as the main opposition party there after the Assembly poll.

The TMC is contesting in 24 seats in the 60-member Assembly the election to which is scheduled to be held on 4 and 8 March. The results will be announced on 11 March.

In the 2012 Assembly poll, the TMC had bagged seven seats, but later all of its MLAs switched sides joining either the Congress or the BJP.

The TMC, which holds power in Bengal and a major force in Parliament with 34 MLAs in the Lok Sabha, had been working hard for the last two years with a new team of leaders in Manipur hoping to play a big role in case of a hung Assembly.

"We are in a very good position to win at least 7-8 seats in Manipur. Our understanding and the ground report says that it will be a hung Assembly as neither the Congress nor the BJP will be able to gain a majority," TMC vice-president Mukul Roy told PTI.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to the party leadership, Manipur is very important to them in order to emerge as a potent force in the east and the Northeast.

"In Tripura, the TMC is the main opposition party and in Manipur if we attain the same status as the last time, it will strengthen our party," a senior TMC leader said.

"Keeping 2019 Lok Sabha election in view, if we are able to win four/five seats in the Northeast, then that will be a big boost for our party," he observed.

Though it won seven seats in the 2012 Assembly election in Manipur and emerged as the second largest party, subsequently it failed to keep its flock together.

While a by-election, necessitated by the death of a TMC member, was won by the Congress, two other Trinamul MLAs — Thongam Biswajit Singh and Khundrakpam Joykishan Singh — were disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.

The two contested the by-elections on BJP tickets and retained their seats. Party MLA and president Th. Shyamkumar Singh, MLAs Irengbam Ibohalbi Singh, Konthoujam Sarat Singh and Oinam Lukhoi Singh joined the Congress last year.

TMC vice-president Mukul Roy, under instruction from party supremo Mamata Banerjee, reconstituted the entire state unit.

In order to reach out to the masses fed up with the politics of economic blockade, the TMC embarked on publicising various welfare schemes, it intended to launch if it has the leverage in governemnt formation, which had handed the party rich dividends in the last Bengal Assembly poll.

The party put up posters informing people about the Kanyashree scheme, which offers monthly scholarship of Rs 750 to girl students from financially weak families, Sabuj Sathi scheme under which cycles are given away among students and Khadya Sathi scheme which offers rice and wheat at Rs two per kg to around seven crore people.

"The people of Manipur have seen Congress government for the last 15 years, but have hardly heard of such schemes. If TMC gets decisive power in government formation we will push for these schemes," TMC leader Samrat Tapadar, who looks after poll arrangement for the party, said.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2017 12:51 PM

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